What was I thinking?

 

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School’s out for the summer, my shop to-do list is a mile long, and I’m a little overwhelmed! I’m endlessly surprised by the discrepancy between how long I think something will take to get accomplished, and how long it actually takes. I mean, I’m off by an astronimically high margin!

Tuesday was my day to finally redo the photography on almost 60 pieces. I know that photography time can get quickly eaten up by perfecting lighting, fiddling with props, and trying out different angles, so I made sure to have everything perfectly ready to go. Weeks ago I had worked out my new photography set-up, experimented with lighting until it was just right, made lists of each type of listing photos I needed to get, and what props I would need. I ordered some of the props I needed, gathered all of the peices to photograph and organised them. I was SO ready. So Tuesday afternoon I popped a movie in for the kids and went for it. Of the 60 items to photograph I managed to get shots of 4. In one and a half hours. I’m sure you are wondering how that’s even possible, and if I didn’t experience it first hand I’d be wondering too… I guess there are endless ways to tweak and adjust during photo shoots that just end up being so time consuming! My point is, though, why did I think I could bang out 60 of these in one afternoon, and be so wrong?

I think it may be a matter of perception- through research, a number of online sellers of similar items have become my standard that I am judging my own shop against. The pictures are Amazon- perfect, the branding is flawless, the media use is thorough, and they do a high volume business. So though I know what I’m working towards, I think I forget that as a one-woman-show I’m on for every aspect of:

product photography

communications

social media upkeep

shop listings

packaging design

advertising

shipping

creative design

And not to mention, of course, actually painting!

I’ve jokingly said to friends that I could spend 24 hours a day working on my handmade business and still complain that there wasn’t enough time, but honestly, it’s actually true! So unless I move into a condo without kids, husband, and animals, and allow for a SERIOUS lapse in personal hygiene, it just ain’t gonna happen.

It is actually kind of a relief to acknowledge that reality; that no matter how much time I was given, I could fill it up and still want more. I have no choice, really, but to be OK with what I can get done in the time I have, and allow myself to enjoy the time off with my kids. That is, after all, why I want to work from home! So please pardon this one-woman-show’s occational intermissions…

What’s in a word

 

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Sitting in my studio the other day, from the corner of my thoughts, a little word floated up to meet me. Stubborn. That’s strange, I thought. I’m not thinking of any stubborn people, my kids are nowhere to be seen, why does my wandering brain want me to consider this word? There it floated, stubbornly. It was a little moment in my day that changed my perspective. I’m stubborn. What? No, no, no- I’m sweet and mild mannered, I don’t send food back at restaurants, or even return things that break, in fact I spend most of my day doing exactly what other people ask me to do.

Yet here I am, after a year of creating, developing, and researching this handmade business,  inching toward my dream with such sloooow progress, and I don’t give up. No one in my life would describe me as stubborn, but I’m proving to myself everyday that I am. And I’m kind of liking it!  It’s probably the strongest word I’ve ever used to describe myself, and I feel like wearing it like a badge of honor. I can’t let this dream go, and I know that I’ll never back down on this. It might change form a bit as I struggle to make a creative living happen, but I just know that I’m going to work at it, pour more into it, sometimes rage and rail at it, until it works. And that makes me both fiercely proud and kind of scared.

———- Brief intermission———–

So of course I got interrupted while writing this (I’m also making dinner, hanging laundry, and managing siblings), and it gave me a chance to think about what I’d written. As I stirred the macaroni, I realized: There’s another word to describe what I was writing about. Passionate. I like that one, too. I think I’ll wear both.

Seriously, Chem Lawn, just stop. You’re embarassing yourself.

Seriously, not a stock photo.

Sadly, not a stock photo.

Every Spring it begins anew… The slowed down trucks as they pass by my house, the flyers left in my mailbox, on my doorstep, the phone calls… Chem Lawn (excuse me, I mean True Green) begins their courtship ritual. Every lawn service guy that rides down my street stares slack-jawed at the weed fest connecting the sidewalk to my house and thinks to himself: “My God, this woman clearly is unaware of her lawn issues, I’d better report this outlier hippie!”. I’m surprised they don’t break down the door and stage a full on intervention, I mean, I’m pretty sure they must think that the poor family that lives here must be tied up, duct tape over their mouths, unable to make that critical call to rectify the unacceptable state of their lawn! Because what other possible explanation for this dandelion-ridden, clover-filled, pathetic excuse for a lawn could there be??? Don’t they know that they live in a neighborhood full of people who have paid good money to have the bejesus blasted out their enormous lawns in the persuit of perfection? And that their dandelion fluff is ruining it for everyone??? Arrgh!!!! Seriously, lawn guy, calm down.

And of course the truth is… I do know. And I feel horribly guilty that my lawn is ruining it for everyone. I cringe with embarassment everytime I pull into the driveway. I keep thinking, when the lawn is mowed, it will look better… it’s totally going to blend in and everyone will will be fooled into thinking that we’ve taken care of the problem… but no. I swear those leggy yellow bastards conspire to lie down when that mower blade passes over them, only to slowly rise again like the zombie-dandelion apocalypse! Kill it with fire!

The temptation is HUGE every year to kill the weeds with herbicides because the natural products and fertilizer we have been using for years don’t work (and what are we fertilizing exactly? Not grass, that’s for damn sure). Part of me really wants my lawn to match the other lawns, if not for the sheer OCD-ness of needing things to visually “go” together.

There is a reason for the state of my lawn of course… a bunch of reasons. Millions, in fact, if we are going to count every living organism in a 1000 foot radius. But mostly it’s my kids who keep me from jumping off that cliff. My kids who are upset when we mow the weeds because “Mom, now what are the butterflies going to eat??” My kids who play and roll down the big hill, and wrestle with the dogs in the front lawn. My kids, who, upon seeing the side of a lawn service truck plastered with pictures of a green lawn and a giant butterfly that doesn’t exist in Nature remark that maybe using chemicals on your yard will breed mutant butterflies!! Um….no.  My kids, who remind me everyday that the creatures big and small are really grateful not to be soaked with toxic stuff.

So when I start to lose my resolve, and begin to leaf through that brochure that’s been left on my front door for the 50th time, I look to them to remind me why we don’t give in.

 

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Oh yeah.